According to the National Organization for Women web site, Ruth Irene Friedl was a married, 27-year-old mother of two. NOW's site said that pregnancy was life-threatening for Ruth, but they don't specify why, nor do they say why she was denied an abortion despite her health problems. NOW says that Ruth drank ergot apiol, an herbal abortifacient, on August 21, 1929. That night, according to NOW, Ruth collapsed at the dinner table in front of her husband and children, and died on the spot.
I'd welcome any verifying information on Mrs. Friedl's death. After all, NOW also claims that Becky Bell died from complications of an illegal abortion, when in fact she died of pneumonia concurrent with a miscarriage. (There was no evidence that Becky's pregnancy had been tampered with in any way.) But if people who think abortion is a good idea want to blame Ruth's death on abortion, I'll let them claim her as somebody their ideology killed.
If NOW's story is true, Ruth's abortion was unusual in that it was self-induced rather than performed by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
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